Kotoni Staggs sent fear of injury to Camp Blues on Thursday, but after worrying that he would never get another chance to fulfill his childhood dream of origin, the Broncos star will not allow pain from a dislocated finger to affect his performance in the opening start of the series next Wednesday. evening. at Accor Stadium.
Staggs was injured during training and was uncomfortable after the session because it took NSW medical staff about five minutes to get the ring finger on his left hand back in place.
However, the 23-year-old center, who trained alongside Tongan teammate Daniel Tupou on the right edge of NSW, worked too hard to change his life for a hand injury to affect his Origin debut.
After being warned last year by NRL CEO Andrew Abd that he was threatening his career after a series of off-field incidents, Staggs made a concerted effort to rectify his ways, and the rewards are evident in the form he has shown for the Broncos. season and its induction Origin.
“I wouldn’t say I wasted my chances, but I knew I had to turn off the field,” Staggs said.
“I made some stupid decisions, but I wasn’t who I was.” I just had to look at myself and say I was better than this and I could change so I could do what I like and play good football. “
Staggs, a proud man of Wiradjuri, grew up in Wellington and was raised by his grandmother Dawn.
Staggs, a junior Wellington Cowboys, dreamed of playing Origin for the Blues, but his first senior national team jersey was for Tonga, to which he is entitled thanks to his father Kotoni, who is based in the USA.
“My family is still in Wellington, some are in Brisbane and I also have a bunch of Tongan families here in Sydney, as well as in Tonza and in America,” Staggs said.
“My old man now lives in America.” I haven’t met my dad in a long time and it’s something I wanted to do. I flew over and met him after playing for Tonga.
“It means a lot to my family.” They were a big part of my journey and my life. It’s something I can give back to my family and make it proud.
“I am a proud native boy who grew up in Wellington. I loved footy, I loved Origin and it’s something I wanted to do as a little boy, so being here now is unbelievable. “
Staggs was at Eagle Farm races last Saturday when NSW coach Brad Fittler called him and told him he had finally been selected to the Blues after being on the brink several times in the past.
Although he did not support the winners in the races, the news was much better and Staggs was emotional when he told his family.
“I was immediately quite proud and emotional,” he said. “What occurred to me was the way to get here and the sacrifices I had to make.
“It just sank in that all the hard work I put into it paid off; do the right things off the field and not do things you shouldn’t do, be aware of your potential and throw away all the drama I’ve experienced off the field.
“It’s a dream I’ve wanted to achieve for a long time.”
The Broncos Center realizes that he and people like Tyrone Peachey and Blake Ferguson are role models for young people in Wellington, and he hoped that his Origin selection inspires them to pursue their dreams.
“I come from the same community and probably look up to me, so I want to set a good example for younger people who are going through, and I want them to achieve their goals as well,” Staggs said.
“The Wellington community and the younger kids who come don’t pay much attention down there.” Me and a few other boys are in a position to help our community and rebuild it.
“We are there as a big family and everyone takes care of each other. It’s a good position I’m in now with what I can do for my community. “
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